Monday, December 07, 2009

Demand for money

Andrew Bailey from the Bank draws attention to the recent demand for cash which is probably a reflection of reduced confidence in the banking system.

As a share of nominal GDP, the value of notes in circulation declined from 6% in 1970 to a low point of 2.4% in the mid-1990s but has since stabilised and then increased, noticeably over the past two years. He explains that from a macroeconomic perspective, sustained low inflation has increased confidence in the real value of the currency since the mid-1990s, while more recently demand for banknotes has risen during the recession, particularly for £50 notes. This recent trend contrasts with the pattern in previous recessions. Rising demand for notes might reflect some loss of confidence in banks and very low interest rates, which reduce the opportunity cost of holding banknotes as a non-interest bearing asset. Andrew Bailey says that is “…pretty good prima facie evidence that there has been an increase in demand for banknotes as a store of value”. This pattern has been seen in other major currencies.

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